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Officials launch Air Force Teen Council

SAN ANTONIO -- Officials with the Air Force Services Agency here have created an outlet for Air Force teens worldwide to voice their concerns to Air Force leadership.

The Air Force Teen Council Program allows teens to brainstorm solutions and initiate change at the installation, major-command and Air Force levels. As members of the AFTC, teens can develop leadership skills and exercise their civic engagement while interacting with other teens and senior leaders at all levels.

The formation of the council is part of Air Force resiliency initiative, and was formed in response to issues identified at last year's Air Force Teen Forum. Teens were concerned about a lack of: consistency in high performing teen programs; dedicated resources for youth and teen programs; and a teen voice on matters that impact them.

"It is in response to this final concern that we have formed the Air Force Teen Council program," said Joye Tolley, the youth programs branch chief at AFSVA. "We hope to find resolution to these issues, and others, through the efforts of this new initiative."

The goal of each teen council will be to produce tangible outcomes as a result of constant communication with installation leadership. Teen councils are set to conduct a project called "My Healthy Generation" that encourages healthy lifestyles, conduct surveys of the teen population at each installation and brief Air Force leadership in conjunction with the Air Force Youth of the Year ceremony and Teen Forum held in Washington, D.C., in August.

There are already 53 installations that have chosen a teen to represent their installation at the major command level. Eleven teens have been selected to represent their command on the Air Force Teen Council.

The 2011 Major Command AFTC members are:

-- Xavier Adams, Ramstein Air Base, Germany (U.S. Air Forces in Europe)
-- Tasha Duong, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. (Air Education and Training Command)
-- Kellie Hollingsworth, Hurlburt Field, Fla. (Small Command representative)
-- Dakota Johnson, Charlotte Air National Guard, N.C. (ANG)
-- William Mitchell, Eielson AFB, Alaska (Pacific Air Forces)
-- Al Montrice Nelson, Little Rock AFB, Ark. (Air Mobility Command)
-- Karla Rogers, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho (Air Combat Command)
-- Ebony Sayles, Tinker AFB, Okla. (Air Force Materiel Command)
-- Lauren Tancer, Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio (Air Force Reserve Command)
-- Anastasia Thibodeau, Buckley AFB, Colo. (Air Force Space Command)
-- Nicole Valenzuela, Whiteman AFB, Mo. (Air Force Global Strike Command)

"Because of the monumental life decisions that are being made by teens, it is crucial for Air Force leadership to reach out and understand the concerns of our teens," Ms. Tolley said. "They live at the crossroads of life."

For information about the Air Force Teen Council and other youth program, visit www.afyouthprograms.com. Follow the council on Facebook at www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Air-Force-Teen-Council/144161568963791.